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63 U of M law profs deride proposed gay marriage ban amendment

Minnesota already bans gay marriage.
Minnesota already bans gay marriage.

Legislators are supposed to legislate, 63 current and former University of Minnesota law professors say today in an open letter to state lawmakers seeking a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Lawmakers are not supposed to treat the state constitution as a substitute for enacting a law, and the profs argue that "it is an evasion to say that the proposed amendment should be placed on the ballot simply to allow a popular vote."

In its 153 years of statehood, Minnesota has enacted many changes in the practice and law of marriage, and in family-related topics like divorce and adoption. Many of these changes have been controversial and have generated considerable debate in the state legislature and among the public. Minnesotans of good will may continue to debate the merits of legally recognizing same-sex couples through marriage or some other status. But in its entire history, Minnesota has never cut short the ordinary legislative process regarding marriage and family law by enshrining one particular view into its constitution. There is no compelling need to do so now.

The Republicans in control of the Legislature aren't listening.

Nor are their allies at the Minnesota Family Council, despite the fact that gay marriage is already banned in Minnesota:

The Minnesota Family Council announced a $4.7 million campaign in January to push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
The Minnesota Family Council announced a $4.7 million campaign in January to push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The people of Minnesota overwhelmingly believe the people of Minnesota should decide the marriage issue--not the courts or legislature. The institution of marriage predates government and has served as the foundation of society for thousands of years. If marriage is to be redefined, it should only be society, speaking through the electorate who makes this decision. Last year, several bills were introduced to legalize same-sex marriage in the Minnesota legislature. The only way to protect marriage is with a state constitutional amendment.

The bill passed the the House Civil Law Committee on Monday with a 10-7 party-line vote, and passed the Ways and Means committee yesterday on a voice vote.

They didn't even call the role.

Read the letter from the law professors here.

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